As a registered dietitian, I encounter many individuals who want to eat better, and are ready to eat better, but just lack that final piece necessary to actually put their desires into sustainable action.
- You believe that you are ready to change the way you eat in the next 3–4 weeks.
- You are confident enough in this belief that you have shared your intention to change with people close to you.
- Yet, despite points #1 and #2, you still harbour some uncertainty regarding your ability to succeed if and when you do make these changes.
If this sounds like you, today’s article will provide you some tips you can use to fuel your transition from someone who intends to eat better to someone who is eating better.
The most important thing that a person can do in this stage is to build their confidence and self-belief. Truly believing in your ability to make the change you want to make is the most important component of making the change, but this is easier said than done for most people.
5 Steps to Building your Self-Confidence and Self-Belief:
1. Set small and realistic goals to start
You have heard the cliché that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but adopting this mentality is helpful in goal-setting because it removes a lot of the pressure that stems from a fear of failing. If, for example, you are trying to eat healthier in order to lose weight, it’s best to set modest weight loss goals. For example, no more than one pound per week.
2. Read, research and seek guidance
You may already be doing it, but remember to take the time to review reputable resources relevant to your specific dietary goals. If you want to “eat healthier,” it helps to have a decent understanding of what this entails. Whether this means taking a look at Canada’s Food Guide, or reading blog posts by reputable health professionals (such as this one!), take the time to ensure that you know what you are getting yourself into. Some people may also benefit from seeking guidance and reassurance from other knowledgeable individuals, including friends, family or health professionals.
3. Pick a day to start
It doesn’t need to be today, and it doesn’t need to be tomorrow. But if you are on the verge of making significant changes, choosing a start date will help you hold yourself accountable to getting the ball rolling. Just be sure to pick a date only once you are confident and ready to go. Don’t rush the process!
4. Plan ahead
Visualizing what your life will look like with your newfound changes will help you prepare for success. Will you need to grocery shop more? Cook more? Eat out less? Try to anticipate how these new activities will fit into your life, and plan strategies for overcoming any barriers you may face.
5. Surround yourself with like-minded and/or supportive people
Positive energy and reinforcement is really valuable, so try to place yourself in situations with people who support and embrace your desire to change. It can also help you to remind yourself of the positive effect your own dietary changes will have on those close to you.
In summary, those are my top five suggestions to help you get closer to where you want through self-confidence and self-belief. I appreciate that taking the plunge from wanting to change the way you eat to actually making that change can be daunting and difficult. I sincerely hope that some of today’s suggestions resonate with you, and that they provide you with that little bit of extra support you need to take your ambitions to the next level.
For those who may be curious, the advice I have provided today is grounded in a well-known behaviour change theory, known as the Transtheoretical Model, developed by a pair of scientists in 1983. Hats off to the excellent work of those scientists (Prochaska & Di Clemente), and to anyone who took the time to read today’s posting.
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